Progress on plans for Galway Che Guevara monument
By Kernan Andrews
A major and innovative monument to the
Irish-Argentinean revolutionary, guerilla, doctor, writer, and politician Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara, has taken a step closer to becoming a reality this week.
The Galway Advertiser understands that City Hall’s arts officer James Harrold will commission a scale model of the proposed monument to be made. This will then be presented to the Galway City Council’s Working Group on Public Arts for consideration, and later city manager Joe O’Neill for final approval. The approval of city councillors may also need to be sought.
The idea to erect a monument to Che Guevara comes from a proposal made by Labour councillor Billy Cameron, an ardent admirer of the revolutionary, that a monument be erected in Galway and that the project be undertaken in conjunction with the Cuban and Argentinean embassies to Ireland.
The proposed monument has been designed by Simon McGuinness and it is understood that it will feature the iconic image of Che created by the Irish artist Jim Fitzpatrick, commonly seen on posters and T-shirts.
Both men were in Galway recently to inspect proposed sites for the location of the Che monument. While no definite site has been chosen it is likely that the Salthill Promenade, possibly around the area of the Atlantaquaria, will be its location.
Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara-Lynch was born in Rosario, Argentina, in 1928. Guevara’s Irish descent came from Patrick Lynch who was born in Galway in 1715, an Irish emigrant who became a significant landowner in Argentina. Che’s father Ernesto Guevara-Lynch snr, famously said of Che: “The first thing to note is that in my son’s veins flowed the blood of the Irish rebels.”
Che came to international prominence as one of the key figures in the Cuban revolution of 1953-59. He later served in Fidel Castro’s government, and spoke throughout the world about Cuba and Latin America. He was executed in 1967 by Bolivian forces while trying to spread revolution there.
Cllr Cameron is hopeful that the project will get the go-ahead and is confident that sufficient funds will be raised for the project.
“Che’s Galway connections to the Lynch family have been explored and confirmed, and there is a family home in Claregalway” he said. “Che is an international figure who has inspired thousands of people and it is time we honoured and recognised him.
“The monument would also be a major tourist attraction. There are thousands of Che admirers around the world and it could become a focal point for them and to highlight the Irish connection.”